One of the most fantastic moments that I have had all summer, as an intern at LitWorld and as a LitCamp counselor, happened during our first week. The international theme (a shout-out to the upcoming Olympics) gave me the privilege of teaching International Craft Shop during to a wonderful group of enthusiastic campers, and with the help of a fantastic teen leader.
I started my lesson on origami with a story about a Japanese Zen cat, followed by a discussion about creativity, and what it means to be creative. LitCampers Raj, Natanya, Mahamadou, Abdul, and Safi all had very insightful comments, and we decided that creativity applies to more of life than just what we call “art.” Creativity is essential in anything one does during the day, including making your boring chores more fun, tackling small challenges, and thinking of ways to spice up everyday tasks.
Then it was time for the real crafting: origami! Everything was going swimmingly, the children were chatting and having fun as they folded their paper... until I realized that I had left out a step and didn’t know how to finish the box! I sat on the picnic table and told the faces looking up at me, “Guys. I messed up.” I didn’t know how to help them fix their boxes, and the plan I had crafted in such detail would go to waste.
Mahamadou was my saving grace in that moment. “No, it’s fine!” he told us, and proceeded to take over my lesson. It turned out that he knew how to fold the box better than I did, and was kind and generous enough to help each person make the last, difficult fold of the box. As we opened them up and the campers marched back to Broadway Housing, I couldn’t help dwelling on how well they had all worked together, in crafts, conversation, and cooperation. Moments like this came up many times throughout the week, especially during the classes run by our wonderful counselors which included: Global Gourmet, Power Poets, Interactive History, World Music and Dance, International Sports, and more.
On the first day of LitCamp, we grouped the children into “bunks” that consist of five campers, one or two teen leaders, and one counselor. Each bunk created a new country in honor of International Week. The countries that make up the World of LitCamp are named: Lucky Land, LIME, Vena Caf, and Ghanadancelandia. Each has their own national anthem which we heard performed during our Olympic Ceremony.
When it was time for the Olympic Oath, we decided that the real Olympic Oath didn’t really fit with our values for the LitCamp. Our own Oath, signed and subscribed by everyone at the LitCamp, now hangs on the wall in Broadway Housing:
“In the name of LitCamp, we promise to be friends, to be loyal, to have respect, to have fun, to learn new things, and to have the best summer ever!”
We are well on our way to completing the last task and the LitCamp has only just begun!
-Salpi, LitWorld Intern